Eighteen northern pike — including some longer than 30 inches — that were stranded by shallow water following their spring spawning run, are once again swimming in the waters of Green Bay thanks to quick response by state fisheries biologists and county officials.

Northern pike normally run up the ditches and into wetland areas to spawn in the spring when the water levels are high enough for them to make the trip. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult for the pike to get back down to the Bay of Green Bay before water levels drop back down. Low water levels in Green Bay also influence water levels in small tributaries and ditches leading into the bay.

Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists are working with state, federal, county, tribal and non-profit partners to restore and enhance spawning habitat for northern pike and to improve fish passage at culverts.

DNR fisheries biologists and staff from Brown County Land Conservation Department last week discovered a good number of adult northern pike stranded in ditches or wetland pockets with nowhere to go.

“When we first looked at one ditch, in particular, we saw only three adult pike,” explained Tammie Paoli, DNR fisheries biologist at Peshtigo, “but when we shocked the water, 18 fish appeared from under the grass and inside the culvert.”

Several of the 18 fish captured were in the upper 30-inch size range. DNR staff shocked the fish to temporarily stun them so they could be handled. Once they were captured, they were put into a large tank to recover and were released back into the Bay of Green Bay.

Image courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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